Requirements for ICC Full Member status

Scotland’s Mark Watt recently told the Wisden Cricket Weekly podcast that he hopes Scotland can achieve full member status during his playing career. Here’s what a side needs to make the jump from associate to full membership.


Scotland almost stunned both England and Australia to reach the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup. After several impressive performances in ICC white-ball World Cups, their sights are now set on full membership.

Equally, the USA qualified for the Super Eights of their first edition of the tournament acting as hosts, sparking further conversation about the status of the associate nations. There has also been debate over how often associates get to play full member teams, with Oman, Uganda and Papua New Guinea all admitting struggling against a quality of opposition they rarely play.

What is the difference between associate and full membership?

The simplest definition of associate ICC members is: “Countries where cricket is firmly established and organized, but have not been granted full membership yet.

Each Associate Member that occupies one of the top 40 places in the ICC’s Associate Member Performance Measure will be a voting member of the board, while the rest will be non-voting members. Full members are the 12 governing bodies which have full voting rights. 

The most obvious difference between the two types of membership of the ICC is the ability to play Test cricket. Only teams with Full Member status are allowed to play Test cricket. The most recent additions to the Full Member group were Afghanistan and Ireland back in 2017. Both played their maiden Test matches in 2018.

ICC Full member nations: Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan, Ireland, West Indies.

The other obvious difference between full membership and associates is the amount of funding they get from the ICC. The 12 full member sides are expected to receive 88.81 per cent of the ICC’s funding pot from 2024-27 ($532.84 million in total). While the 96 associates will split the remaining 11.19 of the pot ($67.16 million).

There are also different tiers of associate members, with eight associate teams currently having been granted ODI status until 2027. These teams are the Netherlands, Canada, UAE, Namibia, Scotland, Nepal, Oman and the USA. The rest of the associate members can play T20Is only as recognised by the ICC. 

How can an associate nation become a full member?

Given that only Afghanistan and Ireland have been admitted to the Full Member group in the last 23 years, upgrading ICC membership is relatively rare. It is also complicated, with multiple standards required to be achieved. However, the ICC has set out a criteria for which boards can attempt to reclassify their membership. 

Article 2.1 of this criteria sets out six areas a board which is already an associate must satisfy in order to be considered for full membership: general, governance, performance, participation & domestic structures, infrastructure and development programmes.


The general criteria for membership states that the board of cricket in a country must be recognised by the ICC as the primary governing body responsible for the administration, management and development of cricket (men’s and women’s) in its country. This clarifies that men’s and women’s cricket must be under the same board, which wasn’t common practice before the mid 1990s.


Secondly, the governance system a board has in place must include a written constitution with voting rights and integrity related rules covering anti-doping, anti-corruption and ethics. It must also generate a minimum 10 per cent of its own total revenues and provide a fully audited account for the previous four years, as well as not be in serious debt.


In terms of performance, the ICC takes into account both performances in it’s white ball World Cups and in bilateral series.

An associate member must have played in at least three men’s Cricket World Cups or T20 World Cups over the last eight years. Scotland meet that criteria having qualified for all of the last three editions of the men’s T20 World Cup.

They must also have beaten a full member side in a men’s Cricket World Cup or men’s T20 World Cup. Scotland beat the West Indies in the 2022 T20 World Cup.

An associate must also register four wins against two or more full members ranked in the top ten for T20Is or ODIs depending on the format, over the previous eight years. This criteria is particularly controversial given how little associate sides play full member sides in bilateral series. Scotland only have three bilateral fixtures against full members who meet that criteria scheduled in this year, against Australia in September.

An associate must also have participated in at least one women’s Cricket World Cup or women’s T20 World Cup over the previous four years, and must currently feature on the ICC’s women’s ODI ranking table. Scotland women qualified for the 2024 T20 World Cup for their first-ever appearance in the competition earlier this year.

Participation and domestic structures

For the participation criteria, to be considered for full membership, an associate member must have national men’s 50-over and 20-over tournaments with at least three teams with List A status, as well as a sufficient pool of players to support national level selection across men’s, U19 men’s and women’s teams.

They must also demonstrate strong domestic participation levels and growth over the previous eight years.

Infrastructure and development programmes

For the final parts of the criteria, an associate must have access to at least two men’s ODI venues accredited by the ICC for full member matches.

They must also have implemented a coordinated and developed general coaching and talent identification pathway over the previous four years.

Application process to become a full member

After fullfiling these criteria, an associate member is required to submit an application to the membership committee to become a full member.

Upon receiving the application, the membership committee then considers the member in question and on that basis recommends to the board of directors whether the member should be accepted as a full member or not.

A special resolution is then required to be passed by the existing members at the following Annual General Meeting. Till the time the resolution is approved, the applicant remains as an associate member. 

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